Luc Besson Defends Himself Over Rape Claim

Luc Besson - Getty - H 2019
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In an interview on French television, the 'Lucy' director said, "I have never raised a hand to a woman. I have never threatened a woman."

Director Luc Besson appeared on French television Tuesday night, defending himself in the wake of a rape claim made by Belgian-Dutch actress Sand Van Roy in May 2018.

“This is a lie from A to Z. I did not rape this woman. I have never raped a woman in my life,” he said in an interview with news channel BFMTV. “I have never raised a hand to a woman. I have never threatened a woman. I have never physically or morally coerced a woman. I have never drugged a woman.”

Van Roy filed a police report in May 2018 following an encounter at a Paris hotel. The Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets helmer was questioned by police later, on Oct. 2 and Dec. 11, 2018. Police dropped the investigation this past February. Van Roy subsequently filed a judicial appeal to reopen the investigation, which was decided in her favor Friday.

A teary-eyed Besson framed the relationship as a long-term affair, though he admitted to a power imbalance. “There was a relationship of subordination,” he said. Besson added the affair was one of many.

"I betrayed my wife and my children. It did not only happen once, it happened several times during our 20 years of marriage," he said.

Since Van Roy filed charges, eight additional women came forward with allegations of sexual assault or harassment. “These women are talking about situations I do not know,” he said. Besson added his past behavior may have inconvenienced women, but that any harassment was unintentional.

“It's never been inappropriate, not voluntarily in any case, but I understand that one could have taken it wrong. I behaved in a manner that may have embarrassed someone, I apologize for it, it was involuntary, and now I'll be careful,” he said. "I apologize to these women if they suffered.”

Besson is promoting an autobiography of his childhood, Enfant Terrible, which will be available Thursday in France.